IT: Federal censorware law down! (and Seth Finkelstein's reports!)

Seth Finkelstein
Fri, 31 May 2002 10:41:18 -0400

	The "CIPA" law, which involved linking Federal library funding
to censorware for everyone, has been struck down by a Federal court.
A news report is at:

	The text of the decision is available at

	I'm ecstatic that the court seems to have used my
anticensorware work as one factor in its decision, in passages
such as these:
  "Another technique that filtering companies use in order to deal with a
   structural feature of the Internet is blocking the root level URLs of
   so-called "loophole" Web sites. These are Web sites that provide
   access to a particular Web page, but display in the user's browser a
   URL that is different from the URL with which the particular page is
   usually associated. Because of this feature, they provide a "loophole"
   that can be used to get around filtering software, i.e., they display
   a URL that is different from the one that appears on the filtering
   company's control list. "Loophole" Web sites include caches of Web
   pages that have been removed from their original location,
   "anonymizer" sites, and translation sites.
   Caches are archived copies that some search engines, such as Google,
   keep of the Web pages they index. The cached copy stored by Google
   will have a URL that is different from the original URL. Because Web
   sites often change rapidly, caches are the only way to access pages
   that have been taken down, revised, or have changed their URLs for
   some reason. For example, a magazine might place its current stories
   under a given URL, and replace them monthly with new stories. If a
   user wanted to find an article published six months ago, he or she
   would be unable to access it if not for Google's cached version.

   Some sites on the Web serve as a proxy or intermediary between a user
   and another Web page. When using a proxy server, a user does not
   access the page from its original URL, but rather from the URL of the
   proxy server. One type of proxy service is an "anonymizer." Users may
   access Web sites indirectly via an anonymizer when they do not want
   the Web site they are visiting to be able to determine the IP address
   from which they are accessing the site, or to leave "cookies" on their
   browser.(8) Some proxy servers can be used to attempt to translate Web
   page content from one language to another. Rather than directly
   accessing the original Web page in its original language, users can
   instead indirectly access the page via a proxy server offering
   translation features.
   As noted above, filtering companies often block loophole sites, such
   as caches, anonymizers, and translation sites. The practice of
   blocking loophole sites necessarily results in a significant amount of
   overblocking, because the vast majority of the pages that are cached,
   for example, do not contain content that would match a filtering
   company's category definitions. Filters that do not block these
   loophole sites, however, may enable users to access any URL on the Web
   via the loophole site, thus resulting in substantial underblocking."
	This is an aspect which I've been trying to get into the
censorware debate for ages. I'm overjoyed that the court heard, they
got it, they listened, and it helped strike down Federal censorware law!
These are the reports which seem to have made a difference: 

BESS's Secret LOOPHOLE:  (censorware vs. privacy & anonymity) - a
secret category of BESS (N2H2), and more about why censorware must
blacklist privacy, anonymity, and translators
BESS vs The Google Search Engine (Cache, Groups, Images) -
BESS bans cached web pages, passes porn in groups, and considers all
image searching to be pornography.
SmartFilter's Greatest Evils - why censorware must blacklist
privacy, anonymity, and language translators
The Pre-Slipped Slope - censorware vs the Wayback Machine web archive -
The logic of censorware programs suppressing an enormous digital library.

Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  sethf[at-sign]
Anticensorware Investigations:
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought list -